Are Hybrid Cars High-Maintenance?

Are Hybrid Cars High-Maintenance?

Updated on June 23 2024

The name alone sounds sophisticated and engaging, with hybrid cars they’re definitely on the run. They’re selling faster than electric vehicles. The hybrid car started in Austria in 1900 and was invented by the ever-known automotive engineer in the industry-Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951) of Germany, under the company of Jacob Lohner which manufactured the first design.

What are hybrid cars?

Hybrid cars are vehicles that combine two elements in the system-a gasoline engine and an electric motor-that one or the combination of the two can propel a car to move. Combining traditional and electric motors typically means a lower gas consumption that is regarded as more environment-friendly today.

Hybrid vs. electric vehicles

Hybrid or gas-electric vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor, which uses energy lodged in batteries. They work concurrently to create the most optimal driving condition.  A hybrid car runs on a combination of electricity and conventional gas. But, a hybrid electric vehicle can’t be plugged in to charge the batteries; instead, they utilize the energy stored from battery packs through regenerative braking system and by the gas engine. Electric vehicles utilize a large capacity battery and an electric engine to transport the vehicle. To say the least, entirely electric cars may be more environment-friendly.

How do hybrid cars work?

Series hybrid vehicles consume the electric engine to power the car, and the gas motor powers a car generator that makes the energy and charges the battery. The gas engine can’t move the car; it only supplies the energy for the electric engine. In series hybrid cars, they use the two elements as generating sources to power the wheels, or they can use only the battery energy for a short trip. In parallel hybrid cars, the fuel motor and the electric engine are combined so they simultaneously work together to steer the wheel. The electric motor enhances the performance of the car while gas tank does most of the work.  So, compared to series hybrids, parallel hybrids utilize the gas to propel the car instead of generating electricity.

Hybrid running costs?

In theory, hybrids should have lower operating costs than conventional engines because of less fuel consumption. But what's the truth? When it comes to cost per kilometer, it's less than conventional powertrains. Even though it's more expensive to buy, a hybrid offers huge savings, especially for those who find themselves in long stop-and-go traffic situations.

For the most part, hybrid batteries can last for a decade. The thing about electric motors and batteries is that they require minimal maintenance. At most, it might need a new battery cooler to keep the system running efficiently. Unfortunately, battery performance and range depletes over a decade. That's where the rub of hybrid power lies.

Battery replacement

If you plan to keep a hybrid vehicle for over a decade, that's where it can become a little pricey. Again, battery performance, range, and efficiency deteriorates over time, just like the battery in your laptop, smartphone, and other devices. Some manufacturers have a five-year or 200,000 km warranty on their batteries, which should offer some peace of mind. But still, those have to be replaced at some point. So how much is it, you ask? In the US at least, you're looking at about $2,000 at the very least. That's about PHP 100,000 if you want to retain the efficiency you expect from these gas-electric vehicles.

But assuming you're maximized the benefits of a hybrid vehicle, it might even end up cheaper to run than a standard-powered car, even with the rather shocking battery replacement bill

Limited expertise

Hybrids are complex and pose risks for inexperienced handlers. Trained technicians might be hard to come by in the Philippines. The rarity of these professionals can also drive up repair costs. Dealing with battery voltages and battery leaks can be dangerous. High voltage can cause electrocution, and  exposure to chemical components of batteries is detrimental to safety. On other words, these hybrids are not for the weekend mechanic and not too DIY-friendly. At most, you can do a few suspension repairs and standard maintenance on the standard engine, not the battery packs or electric motor.

Lowering hybrid running costs

Keep a regular car inspection and check for minor details in the engine. To avoid battery damage, routinely change your coolant and transmission fluid. When changing these fluids, be certain that no fluid spills; otherwise it could cause serious damage.

If a purchase is necessary for new car parts, get wiser. Be smart and buy only those that give you warranties. Be assured that the manufacturers give you the eligibility to enjoy the guarantees before paying for new parts.

Observe regular maintenance. The parts that wear and tear, for an experienced technician to replace, is a non-issue when essential parts are needed buy them. Be a proactive owner, do the scheduled maintenance report that’s your passport to your car’s longevity and an efficient performance level, with anticipated lower   repair expenses in the future.

Use the appropriate oil viscosity. A lower-weight oil (usually OW-20) is recommended for hybrids. Compared to thick oil, an appropriate blend of oil gives you the optimal balance between ensuring the engine is well lubricated while allowing you to enjoy a better overall fuel efficiency.

In the end, keep a preemptive stance for all the maintenance services to avoid costly repair in the future. All car parts, hybrid or conventional, do wear and tear in a long period, be smart! You eventually need to replace air filters, light bulbs, do change oil and have all fluids replenished on time. Also, refill washer fluid and replace tires if needed. For hybrids, these steps will cost you the same value as it does in a regular car. Be vigilant to your hybrid’s needs and requirements, minimize added costs. After all, it’s your choice to own and keep a hybrid car; just before you spend way beyond the budget.

For now, there are only a limited number of hybrid cars in the second-hand market. But that isn't stopping us at Automart.PH from offering those in the future. It will only be a matter of time before used and repossessed hybrid cars will make their way to our stocks, and we can offer those to you for much less.